Football: Valdes stays silent on whether he or Casillas will start

RECIFE, Brazil (REUTERS) - Victor Valdes refuses to say if he or Real Madrid's Iker Casillas will start Spain's game against Uruguay on Sunday but whether the Barcelona keeper plays or not, he is just delighted to be at the Confederations Cup.

Valdes is one of seven Barca players out to complete an awesome full house of nine major tournament honours.

Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro and David Villa have also won every major club trophy plus the World Cup and European Championship with Spain.

"I cannot reveal (who will play). I am just another member of the squad and that has been the key of this team's success," Valdes told a news conference on Friday.

"I will do what I am asked and what coach Vicente Del Bosque decides. I am just grateful to be here.

"I have felt like the happiest child in the world since I was called up to the squad. It is a privilege to play with Spain and to be part of this team."

Valdes will try to add the trophy Spain have never won to his other medals from the Champions League, La Liga, King's Cup, the European and Spanish Super Cups and the Fifa Club World Cup.

The path to a Group B starting spot against South American champions Uruguay could be blocked by Casillas even though the Real keeper endured a difficult time under coach Jose Mourinho last season.

Mourinho, who left Real for former club Chelsea earlier this month, left his club captain out of the side for most of the campaign.

"Casillas is doing well, he's the same as always, on top form and raring to go," said Valdes.


"He's very motivated on and off the pitch. It's important we have a healthy competition because that will benefit the team."

Confederations Cup hosts Brazil have been world champions five times but are now 22nd in the rankings, looking up at Spain at the top of the pile.

"Brazil have always been a worldwide reference in football and they still are," said Valdes.

"We have managed to get closer to their position in the last few years. Now we are on a par in terms of our football style and brilliance."

Valdes may get the chance to see his new Brazilian club mate Neymar, who joined from Santos for a fee of 57 million euros (S$95.4 million) earlier this month, at close quarters in this tournament.

"He is one of the best footballers around at the moment and I celebrate the fact he has joined us because the best players in the world need to play for Barca," said the keeper.

"He will help us to keep winning." Some pundits regard the Confederations Cup as simply a series of friendlies but Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla disagrees.

Looking ahead to the Uruguay game, the Arsenal midfielder said: "This isn't a friendly. Not only do they have Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who are being chased by the biggest clubs, they also have Diego Forlan.

"We need to be prepared because they are very dangerous." Oceania champions Tahiti and African champions Nigeria meet in another Group B match in Belo Horizonte on Monday.

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